Europan Croatia

Europan Croatia

Ivan Čižmek (lijevo) potpisuje Povelju Europana na sjednici  Europana Europe u Firenci 18.5.1990., desno Didier Rebois


is a European federation of national organisations which manages architectural competitions followed by building projects, launched simoultaneously by several countries on a given theme and with common objectives.

Europan Croatia has joined Europan European committee in 1992. Member of the Europan European Executive Commitee is Helena Knifić-Schaps, architect.

Europan Croatia is responsible for organizing the competition in the Republic of Croatia and the implementation of its results. It is registered as a non-governmental organisation situated in Zagreb.

Croatia has been an independent member of Europan since March 1992, when the Founding Assembly of Europan Croatia was held in Zagreb. The president of the first National Committee of Europan Croatia was Slavko Dakić, who also promoted the independent status of Croatia in Europan, and the members were Naima Balić, Marija Čačić, Nives Kozulić, Tomislav Marasović, Marko Milas, Milan Mitevski, Andrija Randić, Matija Salaj, Marko Vetma and Feđa Vukić. The expert team consisted of Nikola Bašić, Ivan Čižmek, Borislav Doklestić, Vladimir Mattioni and Milenko Musović, and the secretary was Branimir Rac.

Europe has been present in Croatia since 1989, when an Initiative Group for membership of the former state was formed in Zagreb. In February 1990, Didier Rebois, Secretary General of Europan Europe, was staying in Zagreb, and in the same year there was a formal accession and establishment of the National Secretariat. The first active participation was in 1990, when 5 sites from the current state: Zagreb, Zadar, Čakovec, Nova Gorica and Belgrade, along with 66 others across Europe, were included in the Europan 2 competition.

In December 1991 at a meeting of the European Committee, the Croatian delegation presented the new circumstances in Croatia, as well as the fact that the implementation of the Europan program at the level of the Yugoslav federation became impossible. Thus Yugoslav Europan ceased to exist, and the founding of Europan Croatia began.

(excerpt from the EUROPAN CROATIA – Building on the borders brochure)

National secretariat of EUROPAN Croatia

Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning

Ulica Republike Austrije 18

10000 Zagreb


Tel: +385 1 6101 852

Fax: +385 1 6101 881


Office hours 9-12, 13-16

President of the National Committee of EUROPAN Croatia

Helena Knifić-Schaps, architect

Members of the National Committee of EUROPAN Croatia

Svebor Andrijević, architect

Mirko Buvinić, architect

Lulzim Kabashi, architect

Helena Knifić-Schaps, architect

Iva Letilović, architect

Irena Matković, architect

Ljubomir Miščević, architect

Dražen Pejković, architect

Vinko Penezić, architect

Goran Rako, architect

Members of the Supervising Committee

Borislav Doklestić, architect

Tito Kosty, architect

Maja Furlan-Zimmermann, architect



Helena Knifić Schaps

Translated by Janko Paravić

The late nineteen-eighties were a politically turbulent period for Europe, distinguished by the disintegration of large multinational states associated with the redefinition of state boundaries. The cultural differences were overruled by euphoria and enthusiasm generated by the birth of the European Union. It was also a time of major technological changes, collapse of giant state-owned companies and building ventures, relinquishment of military zones, release of great physical and infrastructural potential, and the beginning of the digital era.


Within such a social, political and cultural environment, in line of the principles laid down by CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne) and PAN (Programme d’Architecture Nouvelle), in May 1988 fifteen European countries signed the Europan Charter in Madrid. In 1989, Europan, the independent European cultural initiative, started working in Paris. The intention was to promote – through public, anonymous urban-architectural competitions – the housing culture in European cities, and promote in a sustained way the European cultural identity in all its emanations.

At the same time, it was meant to provide young architects under forty with an opportunity to enter the labour market. The model of invited competitions applied in Europe made that considerably difficult or impossible for them. Europan is structured as a body composed of national members the number of which varies from one session to another (so far altogether 31 countries). Since its first edition in 1989, Europan has mobilised almost 24.000 teams on more than 700 sites all over Europe.


Prominent names on the European cultural scene, such as Christian de Portzamparc, Cedric Price, Dominique Perrault, Jean Nouvel, Manuel Gausa, Klaus Kada, MVRDV, Emilio Tuñón, Luis Mansilla, Alvaro Siza, Benedetta Tagliabue, David Chipperfield, Kenneth Frampton, Boris Podrecca, and many others were involved in the activity of PAN and then of Europan as members of its leadership, competitors and members of expert teams or juries.


Since foreign architects were mainly absent on the Yugoslav / Croatian scene after a century-long tradition of urban-architectural competitions in Croatia (while national architects appeared only individually on the European scene and beyond), until the foundation of the architects’ chamber, Europan, established in 1990, was the only organised platform and an opportunity for adjusting the system to European values. With the escalation of the Homeland War in Croatia, liaison with Europan Yugoslavia was unofficially severed in December 1991 at the General Europan Assembly in Madrid. The national association, Europan Croatia, was officially founded at the Assembly of the Croatian Architects’ Association in Zagreb on 27 March 1992.


The facts related to the foundation are presented in the texts by Ivan Čižmek, Vinko Penezić, Krešimir Rogina and Feđa Vukić, and the activities and results are described in contributions throughout the three chapters. Here is a brief outline:


–    After the first president and founding member Ivan Čižmek (1989 – 1992), the senior Europan Croatia officials so far have been the presidents Slavko Dakić (1992-1997), Zdravko Švigir (1997 – 2004), Borka Bobovec (2004- 2014) and Helena Knifić Schaps (since 2014), and the secretaries Branimir Rac (1990 – 1997), Jasenka Kranjčević (1997 – 1999), Mirta Vukelić (1999 – 2004), Ivana Liović (2004 – 2005) and Iva Bedenko (since 2005).

–      Leading Croatian architects have been involved in the work of Europan.

–      Competitions were run in sessions E2, E4, E5, E6, E7, E8, E9, E10, El1 and E13 in Zagreb, Osijek, Split, Zadar, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Opatija, Vukovar, Sisak and Šibenik, and, in the first participation session E2, Belgrade and Nova Gorica – Gorizia.

–      There was no participation in competition sessions E1, E3, and E12.

–    All the competitions have been judged by national expert juries with the participation, in line with Europan rules, of European architects.

–      About 400 entries have been submitted by individuals or competition teams for 21 sites.

–      Croatian architects have taken part in competitions in almost all sessions; some have received prizes (or even several prizes) or special mentions, such as architects Helena Paver Njirić, Hrvoje Njirić, Vinko Penezić, Krešimir Rogina, Ines Nizić, Neno Kezić, Nenad Kondža, Saša Randić, Saša Bradić, etc.

–      Europan Croatia has organised about fifteen exhibitions of all projects submitted in Croatia, and projects that have received prizes at Europan conferences/forums throughout Europe; some prize-winning projects have also been presented at other foreign exhibitions.

–    Europan organised a number of thematic seminars/workshops/round tables (Zadar, 1993; Udine, 1993; Osijek, 1994; Vukovar, 1998; Rijeka Forum, 2006; Dubrovnik, 2013; Zagreb, 2016).

–    Europan has published a dozen publications and has contributed continuously to professional journals (Arhitektura; Čovjek i prostor/Man and Space: Korak u prostor/Step in the space; Oris), daily press and other media.

–      Zagreb was the venue of four meetings of the Europan Europe Secretariat (1990, 1991, 2007, 2016).


Since its early activities Europan Croatia has enjoyed support of government bodies (the Culture and Construction Ministries), the City of Zagreb, major state-owned companies, the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb, and especially the former Federation of Croatian Architects and its president Duško Dropulić. It gained full momentum and recognition both nationally and internationally under the auspices of the Planning and Environmental Protection Department of the City of Zagreb and its head Slavko Dakić, who was also the first president of Europan Croatia. Major credit for the organisation of meetings and workshops during the Homeland War in Zadar and Osijek goes to the Physical Planning Department of Zadar County and its head Nives Kozulić, and to the Physical Planning Department of Osijek-Baranja County and its head Srećko Lovrinčević.


With certain minor and major problems Europan has operated continuously for more than 28 years, out of which 25 years under the name of Europan Croatia.


The marking of the quarter-century of Europan’s activity will be organised by the Organising Committee for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Europan composed by the founders and the current senior officials of Europan Croatia. The Editorial Board is responsible for the publication of the appropriate monograph.

We are especially honoured to note that the merits of this initiative have also been recognised by the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović who has accepted the patronage over the monograph and all the attendant anniversary events.